Public health management of hepatitis B virus contacts

Karin Leder
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11679
Published online: 15 April 2013

To the Editor: The Auckland Statement on Viral Hepatitis, released in September 2012, called for action to prevent new hepatitis B and C infections.1 Estimates suggest that more than 200 000 Australians are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, with nearly half being unaware of their diagnosis.2,3 Childhood vaccination is crucial to HBV prevention, but many people from high-risk populations, including immigrants and refugees from endemic countries, are infected before arriving in Australia.4 Targeted screening of high-risk groups for susceptibility or undiagnosed infection is therefore also integral to public health management of HBV infection.

  • 1 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.



This project was funded by GlaxoSmithKline. I am grateful to Dr Ben Cowie for his expert advice and review of the content of this letter.

Competing interests:

I have received travel support from GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur.

  • 1. The Auckland Statement on Viral Hepatitis. In: Proceedings of the 8th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference; 2012 Sep 10–12; Auckland, New Zealand. http://www.aucklandstatement. com/images/pdf/Auckland_Statement.pdf (accessed Oct 2012).
  • 2. Kirby Institute. HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia: annual surveillance report 2012. Sydney: Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, 2012: 122.
  • 3. Williams S, Vally H, Fielding J, Cowie B. Hepatitis B prevention in Victoria, Australia: the potential to protect. Euro Surveill 2011; 16: pii 19879.
  • 4. Cowie B. The linguistic demography of Australians living with chronic hepatitis B. Aust N Z J Public Health 2011; 35: 12-15.
  • 5. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. au/cda/source/cda-index.cfm (accessed Mar 2013).
  • 6. Scognamiglio P, Girardi E, Fusco M, et al. Lack of implementation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination policy in household contacts of HBV carriers in Italy. BMC Infect Dis 2009; 9: 86.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.